Using Polls to Increase Business

One of the most important characteristics a person can have is curiosity. Seeing all of the polls on LinkedIn, I got curious. “How,” I asked myself, “can a poll be used to help secure new clients?”

Before I could answer that question I had to do some research, first and foremost, by conducting my own poll. So, two weeks ago I launched (if that’s the right word) the above poll.

I wanted something that I knew people were discussing, so that it would attract attention, but not something that would bring out the crazies. So I chose a question about personal pronouns. As you can see, I made it clear that I had no personal agenda. I also said I would not read the comments, a promise I admit to have broken. More on that in a moment.

The first thing I had to decide was the length of time the poll would be active. I chose the maximum of two weeks. Everyday I checked to see the number of votes and the number views (which only I, as the “owner” of the poll, could see). My first lesson was that a week would have been long enough because the numbers really did not change after the first seven days.

The second thing I learned was that a massive number of people, in this case over 9,400, saw the poll. That’s pretty good advertising!

On the other hand, the third lesson was that only two and half percent of viewers cared enough to vote. But, if you think of a poll as a direct marketing campaign, in ancient times, when companies advertised through the mail, a two and a half percent response rate was seen as an overwhelming success.

The fourth lesson was that, in some cases, persons wrote comments (I had a feeling, my curiosity got the better of me, and I broke my promise!) in support of the LGBT community and then voted that the personal pronouns were “silly and unimportant.” So in public it was one thing, in private the opposite! (For the record, only I could see how people actually voted.)

As for the actual results, just so you know, the LGBT solidarity option never had more than 30% of the vote and “silly and unimportant” was always at 48 to 50%. Draw your own conclusions if using “Personal Preferred Pronouns” are helpful are not. Which brings me back to my original question:

Can a poll help you build your business?

I believe it can, as long as it is used strategically.

First, as the person posting the poll you can see who votes and how. So you can reach out to them, thank them for participating, and then move forward, after establishing the relationship, to the ask.

Second, you have to be subtle. For example, if I were to post a poll asking “Under what circumstances would you consider hiring a recruiter?” everyone who did not vote “None,” would hear from me and they would know it. So no one serious would respond.

However, if I were to ask, “How many employees do you hope to hire in 2022?” and provide answers such as; None, 1-5, 6-10, 11+, I may get some responses and therefore leads. (I know. Other recruiters will steal my idea. They may beat me to the punch, so to speak, but they can’t beat me when it comes to charm and good looks!)

Third, if the question I pose and the answers I provide show that I know what the concerns of potential clients are (and, note, this time I am not providing an example – I may be crazy, but I’m not stupid) I will be showing potential clients that I understand them and then, hopefully, they will choose to reach out to me so I don’t have to reach out to them. After all, we all prefer to work with people who “get” us.

Bottom line: done properly, I believe polling can be an important part of business development.

PS Yes, I know, I should have ended the question in the poll with a question mark and not a period.